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The Chronicles of Father Robin — The Songs & Tales of Airoea – Book 1
(Karisma KAR260, 2023, CD / LP / DL)

The Chronicles of Father Robin — The Songs & Tales of Airoea – Book 2
(Karisma KAR261, 2023, CD / LP / DL)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2023-11-16

The Songs & Tales of Airoea – Book 1 Cover artThe Songs & Tales of Airoea – Book 2 Cover art

Supergroups have been around for decades, but not necessarily prog rock supergroups, probably not since the 80s with bands like Asia, UK, and even the Traveling Wilburys. The Chronicles of Father Robin (TCoFR), which sounds more like an album title, is a Norwegian supergroup bringing together musicians from Wobbler, Tusmørke, The Samuel Jackson Five, and Jordsjø. TCoFR emerged from the remains of the band Fangorn back in 1993-94, mainly inspired by the classic bands and albums of the early 70s progressive music scene, alongside contemporary bands like Änglagård, Anekdoten, White Willow, and Landberk. Over the past 30 years, the founders fleshed out the story of Father Robin, a creature consisting of all band members, including their experiences, life challenges, and development as human beings. Through lengthy jam sessions and further fine tuning, TCoFR developed their compositions where every song linked itself to the others, telling the story of the archaic world of Airoea. Conceived as a trilogy, TCoFR released it as a crowdfunded box set in June 2023, with Karisma Records releasing the three parts over time. The Songs & Tales of Airoea Book 1 was released on September 15, 2023 and Book 2 will be released on December 8, 2023. Book 3 should appear in the new year. Book 1 sets the stage for the tale of Father Robin. Subtitled The Tale of Father Robin (State of Nature), it consists of six songs that draw on the skills and influences from their respective bands, as well as Yes and Italian prog bands. Mellotronic flights of fancy, majestic Hammond organ riffs, soaring guitar passages, and bucolic and eerie elements combine for a beautiful intro to Airoea. The highlights of Book 1 include “The Tale of Father Robin” and “The Death of the Fair Maiden.”

Book 2 takes our intrepid Father Robin to the underwater city of Orias and over the Sea of Ayrouhr, where on the Grand Reef he faces grave danger from the island people. Book 2, subtitled Ocean Traveller (Metamorphosis) presents another six songs, but a different style. Now the music shows more of the Canterbury sound along with rolling piano riffs, submerged electronics, and some nods to Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull. Personal favorites include “Lady of the Waves” and “Green Refreshments.” Overall quite an impressive concept that is sure to excite prog music fans. And it leaves me with great expectations for the closing chapter, Book 3, subtitled Magical Chronicle (Ascension).

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Wobbler, Tusmørke, Jordsjø, Lars Fredrik Frøislie, The Chronicles of Father Robin

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